Drive seeks school supplies for 2,000 children in Direct Provision

07/08/2019 - 03:28

By Joyce Fegan
There is a nationwide call out for school supplies to help the more than 2,000 children currently living in the Direct Provision system.

Immigrants seeking asylum in Ireland are housed in one of 36 centres around the country.

Children are allowed to attend school up until the age of 18, but as the weekly living allowance is €29.80 per child and €38.80 per adult, back-to-school is a financially difficult time for families.

"I have three kids. The one in 4th class - the average cost of all of the workbooks needed is €190," explained Donnah Vuma of Limerick-based community group - Every Child is your Child.

"The aim of the community group is to establish an ongoing fund to help children in Direct Provision, especially with school-related costs. We had an annual fundraiser for the centres in the Limerick area and centres from all over Ireland started getting in touch asking could we help them too."

The current 'Back Pack' drive is seeking school stationery in the form of hard and soft copy cooks, white long-sleeve shirts and grey or navy trousers, as well as vouchers for Tesco, Dunnes and bookstores so that parents can purchase a good pair of size-specific school shoes or the specific textbooks needed for their child's school.

While the aim of the drive to supply the 2,000 children with school supplies, there is another social goal of the project.

There have been incidents where [racial] profiling has occurred. Children from direct provision stand out. They are dropped off at the school by their centre's bus for example.

"Also their sandwiches are prepared in their centre. You hear: 'Oh you have a Nutella sandwich, you're from one of those centres'," said Ms Vuma.

"We want to make sure that the children go in with everything they need to stop anyone being able to differentiate them."

Ms Vuma said these children are living in a forced state of poverty, and that the "Government should implement a right-to-work that is non-discriminatory, to allow parents to be able to work and provide fully for their children".

For more information on the 'Back Pack' drive see The drive ends on August 25.

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